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Posts selected fromManagement Blog - Engineering Blog - Investing Blog and other blogs

  • Lazy Golfer Portfolio Allocation

    The Lazy Golfer Portfolio (Annually rebalance the fund on your birthday and ignore Wall Street for the remaining 364 days of the year) contains 5 Vanguard index funds

    • 40% Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
    • 20% Total International Stock Index Fund (VGTSX)
    • 20% Inflation Protected Securities Fund (VIPSX)
    • 10% Total Bond Market Index Fund (VBMFX)
    • 10% REIT Index Fund (VGSIX)
  • Silicon Valley Shows the Power of Global Science and Technology Workforce

    Even with the challenges created by the culture in Washington DC against non-European foreigners the last 15 years Silicon Valley continues to prosper due to the talents of a pool of global science and engineering talent. Other countries continue to fumble the opportunity provided by the USA’s policies (largely a combination of security theater thinking and a lack of scientific literacy); and the strength of Silicon Valley’s ecosystem has proven resilient.

  • Global Workplace

    I see an increasing number of opportunities for countries that encourage entrepreneurship and high skill jobs. I relocated to Malaysia and in doing so did a bit of research. It is difficult to get a long term visa in most countries without a full time job (and given the complexity of hiring foreign workers this often means dealing with companies that do a lot of it...

  • Phased Retirement

    I have long thought the binary retirement system we have primarily used is less than ideal. It would be better to transition from full time work to part time work to retirement as people move into retirement.

  • Customer Focus with a Deming Perspective

    A Deming based organization uses evidence based management practices to understand the value customers receive and the variation in the delivery of that value. Internally the organization uses in process measures to monitor and improve (through experimentation – PDSA cycle) internal processes.

    The focus goes beyond pleasing the customer you are faced with at any one time in the Deming context. The Deming management system is designed to learn all we can from every customer interaction to improve the process of delivering value to all future customers.

  • TPP Transparency Confirms the Worst: USA Government Still Trying to Strip Away Rights of Citizens in USA and Elsewhere

    The anti-liberty policies of those we elect continues. They continue to sell out basic rights to provide favors for those giving them lots of cash. The extent to which our elected officials go to hide their actions from public scrutiny is despicable. But the real damage is the consistent march to reduce liberty while providing favors for those providing politicians cash. The damage to society by this consistent pattern is enormous.

  • Software Testers Are Test Pilots

    Software testers should be test pilots. Too many people think software testing is the pre-flight checklist an airline pilot uses.


    Checklists are extremely useful in software development. And using checklist-type automated tests is a valuable part of maintaining and developing software. But those pass-fail tests are equivalent to checklists - they provide a standardized way to check that planned checks pass. They are not equivalent to thoughtful testing by a software testing professional.

  • Risks Should be Taken Wisely

    Accepting risk doesn't mean failure is good. And it doesn't mean the results of experiments are all blameless. You can do a poor job of taking risks. If that is done, we should learn from it and improve how we take risks going forward.

  • Disregard for the Rule of Law by Government

    The USA has done many things wrong in spying on its citizens and others around the world. The main defense seems to be to

    1) make people fearful (essentially they are copying what the house committee on "un-american activities" did)
    2) lie
    3) hide extremely bad policy (and most likely lots of illegal activity) behind claims of "national security"
    4) say we are no worse at breaking laws than others are

  • Lean v Innovation is a False Dichotomy

    The whole idea that process improvement efforts are harmful to innovation frustrates me. It is due to misunderstanding what is labeled as process improvement. Lean isn't about just making whatever process exists less wasteful. Lean focuses on value added to customers but people forget that.


    Yes a think tank or research lab would not be served well by the same types of processes as a fast food restaurant. And a fast food restaurant wouldn't be served by the type of process improvement that would benefits a research lab.

  • Earnings by College Major – Engineers and Scientists at the Top

    As we have posted about for years engineers do very well financially. This chart shows the median income by college major (the data includes those who went on to get advanced degrees) based on data for the USA.

    Engineering holds 6 of the top spots in the graph shown above and 8 of the top spots for those that didn’t earn an advanced degree. Pharmacy-sciences-and-administration and Math-and-computer-sciences made the top 10 of both lists.

  • Resources for Using the PDSA Cycle to Improve Results

    "Using the PDSA cycle (plan-do-study-act) well is critical to building a effective management system..."

  • Outdoor Air Pollution Resulted in 223,000 Cancer Deaths in 2010

    It is very difficult for individuals to cope with systemic failures (allowing excessive pollution that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year, for example); individual can wear masks to reduce negative impacts of air pollution. These types of risks should be dealt with at the government level. Those that argue that we don’t need nanny states protecting us from dangers that individuals have trouble coping with individually are not taking a very scientific approach to how societies can make life better.

  • Pilot on a Small Scale First - Good Advice We Often Ignore

    Piloting on a small scale is best. It is what I recommend and encourage. I just think seeing the failure to pilot as a cause of the widespread problem is too simplistic. Why did we fail to pilot needs to be the next question - don't stop at the failure to pilot as the root cause. From there you will nearly always discover, unless maybe you are Toyota or the Kaizen Institute or something :-) that your organization consistently fails to pilot before adopting on a wide scale. Then you need to dive into that issue...

  • Global Stock Market Capitalization from 2000 to 2012

    Looking at stock market capitalization by country gives some insight into how countries, and stocks, are doing. Looking at the total market capitalization by country doesn’t equate to the stock holdings by individuals in a country or the value of companies doing work in a specific country. Some countries (UK and Hong Kong, for example) have more capitalization based there than would be indicated by the size of their economy.